Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eat This, Not That's 14 Health Foods That Aren't :(

1. Bran Muffin

420 calories
20 g fat

Eat this instead!

Ham, egg and cheese on an English muffin
300 calories 12 g fat

Bran muffins are comprised of two things your body doesn't want in the morning: sugar and refined flour. Both will work to spike your blood sugar, which signals your body to start storing fat and sets you up for a mid-morning crash. And with only trace amounts of fiber, there's nothing healthy about this misunderstood muffin. The breakfast sandwich, on the other hand, is a surprisingly great way to start your day. Besides having fewer calories, fat, and carbs, it also offers about 20 grams of protein, which we really need in the morning to jumpstart our metabolism.

2. Chicken Caesar Salad

(Dinner-size portion)
900 calories
60 g fat

Eat this instead!

Grilled chicken on mixed greens 400 calories 20 g fat

Caesar salads suffer the consequences of two natural disasters: a flood of fatty dressing and a blizzard of Parmesan cheese and croutons. Even a Caesar side salad before a meal can cost you up to 500 calories. Skip the emperor treatment in favor of a simple grilled chicken breast tossed in a bed of mixed greens tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is a vast improvement over the treacherous Caesar dressing, and the absence of a Parmesan sea means that you'll save nearly entire meal's worth of calories by making this simple swap.

3. Tuna Melt

900 calories 50 g fat

Eat this instead!

Roast beef or ham sandwich
500 calories 15 g fat

Plain tuna out of the can is healthy; tuna doused in mayo, shrouded in melted cheese, and slicked with another layer of dressing is not. Both ham and roast beef are packed with protein and are super satisfying and surprisingly lean, which means you can eat the same size sandwich and save 400 calories and 35 grams of fat.

4. Chicken Wrap

700 calories 35 g fat

Eat this instead!

Grilled chicken sandwich
375 calories 15 g fat

The wrap itself is the real offender here, dense with fast-burning carbs and containing up to 400 calories. It's a tortilla shell pumped with a bunch of modified starch and fat. Plus the huge surface area means more room to slather dressing and pack in more cheese and meat than your typical sandwich. Definitely not a health food. A grilled chicken sandwich on a bun offers a great balance of fat, carbs, and protein, plus having a bun instead of a huge tortilla provides some much-need portion control. Bonus: Nix the mayo in favor of BBQ sauce or salsa (which is the ultimate fat-free, low-cal condiment).

5. Turkey Burger

850 calories 50 g fat

Eat this instead!

7-oz sirloin steak
350 calories 20 g fat

People hear turkey and automatically think lean and healthy, but depending on the type of ground turkey and toppings used, one of these poultry patties can be every bit as fatty and caloric as a beef burger. Sirloin, on the other hand, is one of the leanest cuts of meat available, which makes for an incredibly satisfying, protein-enriched meal that will keep you feeling fuller, longer. Who wouldn't want to make this swap?

6. Fruit Smoothies

600 calories 120 g sugars

Drink this instead!

100% fruit smoothie
350 calories 75 g sugars

Many fruit smoothies contain added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup, which means they're more milkshake than smoothie. The key here really is in the name: A 100% fruit smoothie made with plain yogurt instead of ice cream or sherbert will contain nearly half the calories and significantly less sugar, plus it will provide all of the vitamin and antioxidant capacity that a smoothie is supposed to have.

7. Granola Bar

200 calories
15 g sugars

Eat this instead!

1 oz cheddar cheese with Triscuits
150 calories
5 g sugars

Ever wonder what keeps a granola bar together? The makers of one of America's favorite (and most misunderstood) snacks use mostly high-fructose corn syrup as their glue, which in turns quickly raises blood sugar and cancels out any of the potential benefits you might otherwise get from the oats. By switching over to good old-fashioned cheese and crackers, you swap out sugar and calories for protein and fiber. Talk about a great deal!

8. Pasta Salad

300 calories 20 g fat

Eat this instead!

Egg salad
200 calories 14 g fat

When the main ingredient for a snack or a side is pasta, you're asking for trouble. That's because pasta is made from highly-refined flour, which means quick-burning carbs and a huge spike in blood sugar. Not only does it save you a hundred calories, but the egg salad replaces those troublesome carbs with healthy protein, which helps fill your belly faster and keeps your metabolic fires effectively stoked.

9. Yogurt with Fruit on the Bottom

190 calories 30 g sugars

Eat this instead!

Plain yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in
110 calories 15 g sugars

You wouldn't start your morning with a can of Coke, would you? Then you should pass on these troublesome yogurt cups since they contain as much sugar as a soft drink. Almost all of what comes directly from the "fruit" is high-fructose corn syrup. Yogurt and fruit can be a great way to start your day, but do it yourself by mixing a cup of nonfat plain yogurt with a half cup of mixed berries.

10. Bagel with Cream Cheese

700 calories
40 g fat
13g saturated

Eat this instead!

Cheese omelet
425 calories
18 g
6 g saturated

Bagels are bogus. The bread is bad enough, containing 300 calories and 60 grams of carbohydrates, but tack on the liberal cream cheese schmear (by our survey of popular breakfast chains, up to 4 ounces for a single bagel!) and you're "harmless" breakfast snack just got worse than a Whopper. The omelet swap will save you nearly 300 calories, plus provide a surge of metabolism-driving protein. And a recent study from the University of Connecticut found that eggs can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

11. Pasta Primavera

800 calories
40 grams of fat (12 g saturated)

Eat this instead!

2 slices veggie pizza
400 calories
20 g fat
6 g saturated

Yes, there may be a few vegetables in this popular pasta dish, but there is also a ton of butter, cream, and quick-burning carbs from the mountain of noodles. If you want to stick to pasta, look for red sauce-based dishes like pasta pomodoro or penne arrabiatta (chili-spiked marinara). But ultimately, even a few slices of cheese or vegetable pizza turn out to be a relatively smart choice when the craving for Italian food strikes. Unlike the nearly bottomless pits of pasta most restaurants serve up, pizza comes in a naturally portion-controlled form: two slices and you're done. Just be sure to opt for regular or thin crust; both pan and deep dish pizza have nearly twice the calories.

12. Dried Fruit

175 calories
45 g sugars

Eat this instead!

Fresh fruit, like an apple or a peach
70 calories
15 g sugars

Okay, so dried fruit won't totally derail a day of good eating (unless you put down an entire bag of banana chips), but it's far from being a harmless snack. First, because the dehydrating process sucks most of the volume from the fruit, you can eat cups of the stuff, and 600 calories later, still not feel any fuller. More troubling, though, is the fact that companies like Sun-Maid and Ocean Spray almost invariably add a ton of sugar to the fruit, making Craisins closer to candy than Mother Nature's original intention. In this case, the choice is clear: Stick to the real stuff.

13. Fish Sandwich

600 calories
30 g fat
11 g saturated

Eat this instead!

Chicken sandwich
300 calories
13 g fat
4 g saturated

Fish is healthy. Fish battered, fried, robed in cheese, and bathed in tartar sauce is decidedly not. The lesson? It's not about the star ingredient, but the supporting cast
in this case a cadre of fat-bearing miscreants. We've seen too many chicken- and fish-based dishes ruined by overly assertive (and caloric) accoutrements. To that end, make sure your next chicken sandwich is grilled (avoid any menu item with the word "crispy", the restaurant industry's euphemism of choice for fried food), dressed with fresh produce, and topped with a low-cal sauce like barbecue, or even ketchup and mustard.

14. Margarine

Margarine (1 Tbsp)

100 calories
11 g fat
2.5 g saturated
2.5 g trans fat

Eat this instead!

Whipped butter (1 Tbsp)
50 calories
6 g fat
1.5 g saturated

In their haste to remove saturated fat from butter, margarine makers created a monster
a soft, spreadable sludge loaded with trans-fats, a dangerous lipid with more concerning links to heart disease than saturated fat. Stick with the real stuff, but pick up whipped butter from brands like Land O' Lakes instead; by whipping air into the butter, manufacturers decrease the caloric density of a tablespoon of butter, plus it makes for easier spreading.


Ok I compared the Nutritional Facts of a McDonalds Fish Sandwich vs. McDonalds Grilled Chicken Sandwich. One factor they swap a white bread bun with a honey wheat bun for the chicken.

You can see the biggest difference in the Calories from Fat. Guess I am swapping over to the grilled chicken.